M+M Colloquium: José Aragüez and Phil Taylor
April 15, 2014 | 5.00pm | N107, Princeton School of Architecture
"Form Beyond Shape: The Logic of Singularity in Vittorio Giorgini’s Topological Approach to Design."
School of Architecture, advisors: Beatriz Colomina and Sylvia Lavin.
"The contribution to disciplinary culture of artist and architect Vittorio Giorgini has remained concealed to wide architecture audiences. This talk focuses on the research branch concerning shell structures and surface topology that he developed between the late fifties and the mid-eighties. I contextualize his trajectory by critically examining a number of aspects that played a central role in the construction of his artistic ideology, such as his involvement with the so-called “Florentine School,” his subsequent encounter with André Bloc, and his referents in the fields of art and architecture (from Kiesler to Moore, Klee and Matta, among others). I further show that what sets Giorgini apart from designers like Kiesler and Bloc—and from the whole of the Florentine School for that matter—was the fact that, behind the sculptural, seemingly whimsical appearance of his shell structure designs there was a consistent geometric logic. In the tradition of D’Arcy Thompson’s biological structuralism, Giorgini looked to the living world with a view to grasp its organizational structures, rather than to seek formal imitation of external appearances. His fascination with nature became a heuristic device that triggered a restless search for geometric structure in design. In my reading, such a structural quality was closely tied to the singularity of Giorgini’s project, in the sense of yielding a self-determined formal vocabulary that fell outside the framework of codified linguistic formats."
José Aragüez is a New York-based academic writer and architect. He is currently pursuing a PhD in the History and Theory of Architecture at Princeton University SoA, where he also teaches graduate studio as an assistant instructor. José holds a Diploma in Architecture and Urbanism from the School of Architecture at the University of Granada in Spain (Honorable Mention, University Graduation Extraordinary Prize, and 1st National Prize in Architecture), and a MSc., post-professional degree in architecture from Columbia University (Honor Prize for Excellence in Design). José has taught studios and seminars at Columbia University GSAPP and the School of Architecture at the University of Granada. He has presented his work internationally at ETH Zurich, Istanbul University of Fine Arts, School of Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, EAHN Brussels, SAH Buffalo, Columbia University, Technion School of Architecture in Haifa, Boston University and Université de Montréal, among other venues. His most recent award was the 2013 Collection Research Grant at the Canadian Center for Architecture.
"Raoul Ubac and “The Other Side of the Face” of our Time."
Department of Art & Archaeology, advisors: Anne McCauley and Hal Foster.
"Against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of both his bases in Brussels and Paris, surrealist photographer Raoul Ubac (1910-1985) published a 1942 essay entitled the “L’Envers de la face” that, in part, concerns three nearly abstract brûlage photographs of a human face in profile. With these works, the artist heated the emulsion of a photographic negative until the material support of the image began to melt, decomposing the image in the process. Bridging the political philosophy and anthropological interests of contemporaries thinkers including Georges Bataille and Carl Schmitt, but also looking back to Ubac’s artistic formation in the context of the Cologne Progressive Artist Group, this presentation will seek to illuminate the stakes of Ubac’s suggestion that “[f]aces are at the limit of human representation” and what this might mean for what philosopher Claude Lefort would come to call “The Image of the Body and Totalitarianism.” Ubac’s meditation provides a lens on the intersections of photographic and political representation, the face and the body politic, and the implications of such figuration in an age of apparent disenchantment of art."
Phil Taylor is PhD candidate in the Department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton. His dissertation, “Raoul Ubac’s Photographic Surrealism,” posits Ubac as a figure through which to develop new perspectives on the position of avant-garde photography in the 1930s, on surrealism and photography’s role within it, and on the relationship of the avant-garde to the tumultuous politics of the time. Phil is the primary author of Various Small Books: Referencing Various Small Books by Ed Ruscha, published by MIT Press, last year. Previously Phil curated the exhibition Of the Refrain (2008) at Robert Mann Gallery in New York. His reviews of recent exhibitions by Thomas Demand and of Dada and Surrealist objects have appeared in Modern Painters.